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AGMA appeals for more growth fund cash

After LEP response, Bernstein states case for more Whitehall money

Published on August 25th 2010.

AGMA appeals for more growth fund cash

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) wants the government to raise the maximum threshold for applications to the proposed Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

The fund will be worth £1bn over two years from 2011 to 2013, and available to the English regions outside of London, is designed to encourage private sector enterprise and growth.

But a response drafted by AGMA, set to go before its executive board next week, said the maximum level of £1m for competitive bids may ‘limit the fund’s ability to generate the scale of growth required.’

AGMA’s response, from Sir Howard Bernstein in his role as chair of the AGMA Wider Leadership Group, said the organisation would like to see priority given to projects that demonstrate ‘real economic growth potential.’

‘We would see value in ensuring that the majority of resource is directed to larger scale projects and interventions which have the greatest transformational impact,’ he said.

AGMA will argue that Greater Manchester is ‘well placed to maximise the RGF’s objectives’, having an ‘excellent track record in engaging the private sector’ while conceding that the city region suffered from’ acute levels of deprivation and structural economic imbalances in some localities’.

AGMA also wants a proportion of the RGF allocated to the planned local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and awarded on a formula relating to GVA growth potential, population and levels of deprivation.

‘ An emphasis should be placed on programmes of investment that do not simply focus on traditional ‘gap’ financing, but which demonstrate significant potential to leverage monies from other sources including but not limited to ERDF; generating returns on public sector investment and creating a sustainable funding source for economic growth moving forward,’ said Sir Howard.

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